clumsy

adjective
clum·sy | \ ˈkləm-zē \
clumsier; clumsiest

Definition of clumsy 

1a : lacking dexterity, nimbleness, or grace clumsy fingers

b : lacking tact or subtlety a clumsy joke

2 : awkward or inefficient in use or construction : unwieldy a clumsy contraption criticized her sentence for its clumsy construction

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Other words from clumsy

clumsily \-zə-lē \ adverb
clumsiness \-zē-nəs \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for clumsy

awkward, clumsy, maladroit, inept, gauche mean not marked by ease (as of performance, movement, or social conduct). awkward is widely applicable and may suggest unhandiness, inconvenience, lack of muscular control, embarrassment, or lack of tact. periods of awkward silence clumsy implies stiffness and heaviness and so may connote inflexibility, unwieldiness, or lack of ordinary skill. a clumsy mechanic maladroit suggests a tendency to create awkward situations. a maladroit politician inept often implies complete failure or inadequacy. a hopelessly inept defense attorney gauche implies the effects of shyness, inexperience, or ill breeding. felt gauche and unsophisticated at formal parties

Examples of clumsy in a Sentence

I'm sorry about spilling your wine—that was very clumsy of me. I have very clumsy hands and tend to drop things. She made a clumsy attempt at a joke.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Next to their louche irreverence, the language surrounding them has felt clumsy and overwrought from the beginning. Stephen Metcalf, The Atlantic, "Jean-Michel Basquiat Is Still an Enigma," 24 June 2018 Otus, the main protagonist, is clumsy and shy and the furthest thing from a traditional hero. Ashley Barry-biancuzzo, USA TODAY, "The 7 best Nintendo Switch games for kids," 24 Apr. 2018 Increased pressure on officials to deliver on targets could lead to more falsification of data, Xie wrote, or more clumsy and unsettling attempts to demonstrate compliance at all costs. The Washington Post, NOLA.com, "With a dash of Putin and an echo of Mao, China's Xi sets himself up to rule for life," 27 Feb. 2018 The device is almost always clumsy and rarely welcome, but what makes this instance doubly weird, is that very little is revealed. Mick Lasalle, Houston Chronicle, "Review: ‘Boundaries’ a trip to nowhere," 3 July 2018 The catch is that Mr. Incredible is too clumsy and careless as a hero: the Deavors want Elastigirl as their poster girl, given her far more surgical and studied form of heroism. Tasha Robinson, The Verge, "With Incredibles 2, Pixar moves away from complicated emotions," 15 June 2018 Although surely not intentional, the wording is definitely clumsy and arguably should not have been passed for publication, and Aubameyang closed his post with a request of his followers to judge for themselves. SI.com, "Dortmund Striker Aubameyang Calls Out German Journalist for Use of 'Racist' Language in Article," 14 Jan. 2018 Washington is convinced that this quasi-CIA agent has been held by Iran all along, despite that country's denials and clumsy attempts to cast suspicion elsewhere. Jeff Stein, Newsweek, "The FBI’s Own Hostage Crisis," 19 Dec. 2013 The goal may be to have audiences waver between deciding whether Mariah or Bushmaster is the greater evil, but that setup is clumsy. Samantha Nelson, The Verge, "Luke Cage is the first Netflix MCU show with a strong season 2," 22 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'clumsy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of clumsy

circa 1598, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for clumsy

probably from obsolete English clumse benumbed with cold

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Statistics for clumsy

Last Updated

23 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for clumsy

The first known use of clumsy was circa 1598

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More Definitions for clumsy

clumsy

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of clumsy

: moving or doing things in a very awkward way and tending to drop or break things

: badly or awkwardly made or done

: hard to use : awkward to handle

clumsy

adjective
clum·sy | \ ˈkləm-zē \
clumsier; clumsiest

Kids Definition of clumsy

1 : lacking skill or grace in movement clumsy fingers

2 : awkwardly or carelessly made or done a clumsy apology a clumsy error

3 : awkward to handle a clumsy package

Other words from clumsy

clumsily \-zə-lē \ adverb
clumsiness \-zē-nəs \ noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on clumsy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for clumsy

Spanish Central: Translation of clumsy

Nglish: Translation of clumsy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of clumsy for Arabic Speakers

Comments on clumsy

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